Thursday, January 26, 2012

token mildly-offensive religion post.

Sometimes when I am asked, put on the spot, curiously inquired "What do you believe in?" I don't know what to say.

Partially, probably, because on any given day I am not really sure exactly what it is that I believe in.

Is this is question of faith? Of God? Of specifically what I DO to insert myself into a group of people who do the same things, which gives us an identity in this portion of our lives? Is this even about God? About finding common ground? Another manifestation of the fact that we're social creatures? Or is this all a quest for some type of serene knowledge?

Am I part of the safety that comes with numbers? Am I naive enough to claim I know the all or nothing of this great debate? Do I love freedom enough? Because don't you dare question my love of freedom.


I just don't know.

Not for lack of introspective thought on the topic, let me assure you. Even when no one asks me the question, I ask it of myself.

Come on! What do you believe in, Sara?

There are obvious answers. I believe in post-it notes, for instance. I am very faithful to my relationship with them. I keep them with me almost constantly. I overuse them if possible. I utilize them to keep me on track, organized, to remind me of things too important to simply file away in my mind. I believe in post it notes because they keep things in the forefront. Because they work for me.

There are the less tangibles. I believe in saying 'I love you" every single time I hang up the phone with someone in my life that I love. Perhaps it is fear that drives this along, just like religion for some, knowing it could possibly be the last phrase I say to my loved one, the last chance I get to set the record straight. Love you. When I stop myself from saying it, it weighs on me until I talk to the person again. I believe in saying 'I love you,' even if it's based on superstition, especially if it's not at the end of a lengthy, pour-your heart out conversation, and again, especially if it is, too. I'm sentimental, I believe in sentiment, in 'I love you's.'

But it only grows from there. What else do I believe in? The power of love? The changes that come with time? Evolution? The New Testament?

Am I a Christian?

What kind?

How do I feel about Jesus?

Do I even believe in God?

Of course I believe in God.


I was raised Catholic, as were many of my friends. What a trip that was. I mean, when you roll with the Catholic crowd, you get some real crazies. Devoted folk too, but damn, crazy. I'm confirmed Catholic, which means I basically signed a blood oath to remain faithful to their ideals and do all their shit and no one else's for the rest of my life. Okay not really, and not a blood oath, but you know, at 15 they told me I was an adult in the eyes of the church and basically I didn't feel any different except that no one else was going to let me be an adult for like three more years. I jumped on that ship right quick, and since I do things all the way or not all all, I started leading youth group and doing bible study.

I loved that shit. I spent more time at church in my final two years of high school than I plan to for the rest of my life. I learned a lot in a general sense, and I learned a lot about Catholicism. And then I got to college and fell in love with my own freedom and actually being a quasi-adult and boom, all of the sudden my path wasn't on the road to righteousness... I was on the fast track to feminism and left-wing politics.

I'm not trying to bash Catholicism. I honestly feel like it's one of the least social-climby branches of Christianity out there and I love feeling like a part of something when I go back. Also, I have so much love in my heart for tradition, as nontraditional as I can be at times, and so many people I love the most in life are Catholic.

But I'm not exactly a practicing member anymore.

Religion is about more than knowing when to sit and kneel, the words of the chants, wishing those around you 'peace' mid-mass. For some, maybe that's all it is, to be a part of something bigger and feel comfort in knowing all the cues in weekly one-hour doses. It's just not enough for me. Because there are some things that I just CANNOT get on board with, and they pretty much cancel out the joy of feeling like I belong as a part of something.

 One of many of these issues (and I mean many, but for the sake of this being a blog post and not a book, we're going to talk about one very well known one) is the fact that we're not supposed to be cool with birth control or abortion. And I'm thinking to myself..... right. I guess it's the pull out and pray method then? I mean, I know that we're supposed to be forced into celibacy or a life of shame, but man, get real first of all and stop trying to scare me straight second of all.

Not really going to work to today's world.

I mean, I love you Jesus, really I do, but the whole immaculate conception story is really only going to work once and I've got living grandparents I'm trying not to shame and a bad case of the "I'm-in-no-condition-to-be-a-fit-mothers."

Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful when people have babies, even when they're not married first. My sister got pregnant four months before her wedding! Now we're all baby crazy! I'm going to be an aunt! I can't wait to squeeze the shit out of that little bundle of joy and teach it to say 'diahrea' before 'daddy' and spoil the everloving shit out of it! Look how accepting I am! YAY!

But I also believe in making the right choices for your body and mind to forge a path toward the happiness we're all desperately (some less desperately than others, assholes) pursuing... and damn, I don't think even I could spin a baby to my advantage right now.

This is life. It's basically the ultimate fight to the death cage match. Earth being the cage. I know, big cage, right? There are no fucking maps or strategies and we're all basically the blind and the blind leading the blind, so you know what, yes, I'm going to take any route/shortcut that will even TRY to make this journey easier. You can call me lazy, but come the fuck on, who is anyone to judge another person's choices in a fight to the death?

HOWEVER, I do believe in this idea of a higher being. Of something greater. Of a reason that we have faith. A reason for faith. Something that can't be explained with words or logic or complex equations.

Trippy, right? Damn right, it's the ultimate trip.

I also believe in an equal playing field and treating people with respect and kindness. I believe that there have been some wise, wise people in our past and even now that have had these lasting ideas that stuck and we all have so much to learn from them. But not everything- so much does not equal everything. No one is all knowing. Except God, maybe. I don't know. That's the point! No one knows! *(#&$*&#$!!!!

I also believe in making the choice that works for you. Not the easy choice, not the wahhhh-I-don't-feel-like-getting-out-of-bed-on-Sunday choice, but the decision to say, "Look, I get it, this is how you feel close to God and I respect that, I respect the validation that comes with ritual and gathering among people that hold the same beliefs and and would never try to deny you from doing what makes sense to you, what makes your soul feel peace." Because that's a beautiful thing for those that want it. And those that don't, psh, I'm cool with you too because to take a stand like that requires some guts and some heart as well. 

But I'm fully committed to finding what makes my soul feel peace. It's not comfortable, not knowing. Floating around and always kind of looking for something that makes enough sense to commit to. I haven't found it yet. I haven't found what makes sense fully and completely to my heart. When I do, I'll know, and I have faith that I will.

For now, just feeling that curiosity and desire sustains my faith that it is out there.

So maybe I don't always know what it is I believe in. But I do believe that it's different for everyone, and I will thank God for that.

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